Child Custody and Parenting Time

“Divorce isn’t the child’s fault. Don’t say anything unkind about your ex to the child, because you’re really just hurting the child.”

— Valerie Bertinelli

Child Custody and Visitation may be a battle between the parents, but the victim of the battle is often the child. The firm works to resolve the custody matter with as minimum impact as possible on the child. Applying reason and incorporating logistics, a parenting plan can be structured that provides each parent with meaningful quality time the child, a minimum of inconvenience on finding childcare and limited interaction between the parents.

Custody comes in two flavors: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the residence of the child. Legal custody refers to decision-making authority. When a child is born, each parent has physical and legal custody of the child. For logistical reasons, unless the parents live together, the mother typically obtains physical custody by virtue of the fact that the child has to live predominately somewhere.

Legal custody is akin to a muscle. If you don’t use it, you lose it. Fathers beware. If you are not an active participant in your child’s life and the decision making process, you give the mother de-facto sole legal custody.

Parenting-time is that time you actually get to spend with your child. It is a kinder way to define physical custody and visitation. Parents should not be just visiting with their child, each parent should have meaningful time with their child and be an active participant in the child’s life.

Done right, parenting time gives each parent meaningful time with their child and meaningful time away from their child so that each parent can indulge in time pursuing their own interests and still enjoy their child.

Where the parents agree and communicate, court intervention is never necessary. However, when tension runs high and the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, court intervention becomes necessary. Parents have the option of negotiating a parenting plan out of court and then seeking court intervention to get the parenting plan so-ordered and legally enforceable or parents can jump to court intervention and file a Petition for Custody or Visitation with the Family Court.